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Alarm bells fall on deaf ears

Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson
MP for Christchurch East


Alarm bells fall on deaf ears

Revelations that Gerry Brownlee knew nothing about the accreditation issue bedevilling the Christchurch City Council until just over a fortnight ago, will raise a few eyebrows, even amongst his own colleagues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Lianne Dalziel.

“Just yesterday in his post-Cabinet press conference, Prime Minister John Key said that consenting was ‘core business’ for the council. Yet today, Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee -- who John Key put in charge of Canterbury’s recovery -- brushed it off as detail he couldn’t be expected to be across.

“What rubbish. Issuing consents is about building -- we are in the midst of a rebuild – I’m not sure what could be more important to a minister tasked with recovery than ensuring that the city is, in fact, recovering.

“The difference in opinion between Mr Key and Mr Brownlee is just more evidence of a lack of communication and leadership.

“The September IANZ report warned the Christchurch City Council that continued accreditation beyond May 2013 was dependent on a satisfactory outcome of that assessment, and yet nothing was said to the Minister by his department or by his ministerial colleague, Maurice Williamson.

“That’s poor handling, plain and simple.

“In the first instance the IANZ report should have set off alarm bells within the council. That warning should have been loud enough to be heard in CERA next door.

“According to the legislation that gives the government extraordinary powers, CERA was established ‘to facilitate, co-ordinate, and direct the planning, rebuilding, and recovery of affected communities, including the repair and rebuilding of land, infrastructure, and other property’.

“It seems the authorities weren’t just asleep at the wheel, they forgot to put air in the tyres, petrol in the tank and start the motor,” Lianne Dalziel said.


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